With the 2019 season over, I look back at 10 of my favorite moments throughout the year.
10. 18-inning game between the Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets.
- The second longest game by innings this season all thanks to Pete Alonso hitting a home run in the top of the ninth to tie it up. Down by one going into the bottom of the 18th, the Brewers surged back with the help of three walks and a walk-off single by Ryan Braun, allowing the Brew Crew to earn a 4-3 victory. Both teams kept you on the edge of your seat the entire game. Full disclaimer: I had to watch this entire game on my phone and I do not recommend viewing extra inning games on any mobile device.
9. 19-inning game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and St. Louis Cardinals.
- The most nerve-wrecking game for me up until the postseason began, quite honestly. Fans and players were all delirious by the time the sun came up the next morning. The game had looked to be sealed with ace Jack Flaherty almost throwing his first no-no. It wasn’t until Andrew Miller gave up the first game tying blast to Ildemaro Vargas in the bottom of the ninth. This game marked history for Chase Field as the longest game played. (Six hours, 53 minutes.) After a questionable intentional walk, the Diamondbacks won it off in walk-off fashion. And yes, both Rachael and I stayed up for the game. I don’t recommend staying up for an extra inning game when you are supposed to be awake two hours after it ends. I’ll never forget this game, despite watching my favorite team take a loss.
8. 10-run first inning for the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLDS.
- I have said it many times but there was something absolutely magical about the 2019 St. Louis Cardinals and the first inning of the NLDS Game 5 proved it. I sat in my driveway, listening to the game on my radio — fearing I would miss something special. I sent Rachael multiple photos and videos of me freaking out over the first four runs. Watching the entire team bat around was a postseason highlight for me. The entire game was special from the first inning, Jack Flaherty and Ronald Acuña Jr., and the moment when Flaherty ran to find his mother. Even though the season ended four games later, the night of the 10-run first felt like the Cardinals had won it all.
7. Mama Skaggs throws the first pitch.
- The Los Angeles Angels lost Tyler Skaggs at only 27-years-old in a devastating way. While I will never forget the day he died and what I was doing when I found out, the moment when his mother threw out the first pitch meant everything to me. Debbie Hetman stood on the mound with tears in her eyes and delivered a perfect strike across home plate. There is no greater love than a mothers love and that held true on that night.
6. “Love you Ty / Forty Five”
- Tyler Skaggs seems to be a theme in my memories of 2019. A group of nine decided to pay tribute to Skaggs during Players’ Weekend. Ryan Braun, Christian Yelich and Mike Moustakas of the Milwaukee Brewers. Patrick Corbin of the Washington Nationals. Lucas Giolito of the Chicago White Sox. Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals. Max Fried of the Atlanta Braves. Jesse Chavez and Scott Heineman of the Texas Rangers. The tribute left many with emotions running high and as one we will never forget.
5. Big Ac Land.
- Paul DeJong has a thing for damaging signs with his home runs and during a home game against the Milwaukee Brewers, it was no different. Hitting a blast that would knock out the lit M in Big Mac Land. The ball rested in the M until Busch Stadium took it down. DeJong would later go on to buy the M for $22,000 — half of the money going to Cardinals Care and the other to the Ronald McDonald House in St. Louis. I was lucky enough to see Big _Ac in person back in September. Here’s to more DeJong home runs damaging signs in the future!
4. Pete Alonso’s 53rd HR.
- When Pete Alonso broke out for his rookie season, many assumed that Christian Yelich or Cody Bellinger would reign supreme when it came to leading the league in home runs. Little did anyone know how much punch Polar Bear Pete actually has at the dish. Breaking Aaron Judge’s Rookie record on September 28, Alonso stood at first base with tears streaming down his face. All of Citi Field stood and watched, celebrating the emotional moment with him.
3. Max Scherzer and Aníbal Sánchez, “We won one.”
- The 2014 Detroit Tigers ride again. After winning Game 7 of the 2019 World Series, Max Scherzer and Aníbal Sánchez embraced each other with tears streaming down their faces. “We won one. We finally won one.” The moment was a small victory for the ones who stuck by both pitchers after moving to the Nationals. A bittersweet moment that will go down in the World Series history books for myself.
2. I Stand with Cookie.
- If you know me, you’ll know I’m a big cancer advocate and believe in standing up for those battling. During the 2019 All-Star Game, Indians’ Carlos Santana, Francisco Lindor, Brad Hand and Shane Bieber, along with Tito joined Carlos Carrasco on the field to Stand Up to Cancer. As everyone stood up with a sign, you could feel the emotions throughout the stadium. I’ll never forget sitting in the middle of the woods while camping, sobbing over how Cookie’s teammates backed him. The saying, “Bigger than Baseball,” reigned true on that night.
1. The no-no on the eve of Tyler Skaggs’ 28th birthday.
- Continuing with Skaggs, of course number one would end with the Angels and the no-no. With Skaggs’ name and No. 45 on all of their jerseys, the Angels played perfect baseball throughout their first home game since their 27-year-old teammate’s death. A combined no-hitter and a 13-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners left the entire baseball world speechless. It was for Tyler, a man who deserved a much longer life than what was given. They scored seven runs in the first inning and finished with 13 runs and 13 hits — and Skaggs’ birthday is 7-13 — July 13th. To make things more heart wrenching, the last combined no-hitter in California before that night, was thrown in Oakland on July 13, 1991 — the exact day Skaggs, a California native, was born.